This Is Vegas

We have had a ton of fun so far over the last 24 hours. Lots of walking and drinking as we do it. I’ve enjoyed the strip and viewing every thing it has to offer.

I’m excited to see more of the strip tonight. We have had a good time of silliness and drunken stupors as we wander the city. My calf muscles are sore since I am not used to the walking.

I’m hoping to do some shopping tomorrow before heading home. There are plenty of kitschy places around. All of which I plan on hitting up for some souvenirs.

Have you been to Las Vegas? Any places I should try and hit up before leaving here?

Disneyland 2020? Finally Going 2022.

We booked Disneyland tickets in February 2020 about a week before the world shut down. We had been planning to go for July 4th in order to see the military fly over and fireworks for that day. However, our trip has been in a state of hiatus ever since.

Memories of our 1st Disneyland trip

We are now on the verge of finalizing a trip to the most magical place on earth! The tickets we had bought were extended, but only until December 15th of this year. My original plan was to go at Christmas this year. Sadly that is unable to be accomplished. The other unfortunate part is our oldest will most likely not be joining us. This will be our the first Disneyland trip without them.

Of course I am discouraged by all of this. However, I know that the remaining four of us can still have a good time together no matter when we book our trip. As travel to other countries has been returning, I find it encouraging for our future vacation plans. I know that Disneyland won’t be the same as it was in years prior. But the familiarity is something we can look forward to.

Have you begun traveling again? Has it felt different or just another step to be taken in order to experience the world? let me know your thoughts on travel in the comments.

Spring Break Staycation

As my last day comes to an end, I think I had a relatively great staycation. A quick look back at the last ten days showed how busy it was. As well as how productive it ended up being.

We did a bunch of gardening, went to a speed skating meet last weekend, had a night on the town for my birthday, and built a gazebo as a family. We built some Lego, and our oldest came to visit and we all had a delightful time. There really isn’t much more I could ask for.

All in all it was a great birthday week. I’m glad I spent it with my family.

Spring Break Staycation Time

It was a quiet evening yesterday at work. The sky was clear and the tracks were nearly empty. I enjoyed the calmness that came with my shift. I had a few days off approaching and was glad that there wasn’t going to be any unfinished business.

I finished my night shift at 6am and raced home to begin my first vacation of the year. As soon as I got home, it was straight to bed for a nap. Seriously one of the best ways to enjoy a staycation is to just relax.

My wife and I went for a walk around the neighborhood in the afternoon. We talked about the kids, money and my upcoming birthday. When we returned home, I took down our old awning and cracked open a beer. I’ll be putting up a new gazebo and selling this old one on Facebook Marketplace soon enough.

Tomorrow will be some more yard work since the sun is supposed to be out. I kind of like the tinkering about and just making the yard look nice. Sometimes a vacation is just meant to relax oneself. No fancy destination required.

Where’d The Time Go?

I am almost finished having a week of vacation. There is one day left to go and I’m hoping to make the most of it. Most of my time off was filled with appointments and keeping myself busy.

Looking back at the week, I accomplished what I need to do- but relaxing wasn’t there. Early mornings and chores filled my excess time. I did get a short nap in on Friday afternoon which was nice.

Saturday will have a few fun fall activities planned. I’ll share the story afterwards. Or follow along on my Instagram and you may see the fun before I write about it. It’ll be silly fun for me and my family. I hope that you enjoy it, as I’m looking forward to finishing my vacation with some fun. (If I say fun enough times, it’ll be fun, right?)

Ending a vacation is always difficult. Work creeps up quickly and then you’re back in the grind waiting for the next set of days off. That’s just how life works.

My Time Is Valuable

I’m on a week of vacation at the moment. I am not going away on a trip. Instead I have planned to fill each and every day with experiences and time to myself. A mental break from work and stresses.

My time away from work is precious to me. Everything from the hours in between shifts to days off, and especially vacation. Work is the furthest thing from my mind. It’ll still be there when I return.

I do have plans to see some coworkers over the weekend. I’m sure some gossip and work talk will come up. But it’s a bit different than having to answer emails and help out. Plus we can discuss life outside of work, which is nice.

My time is valuable to me. I’m not willing to give it up as it’s one of the most important things to have. People everywhere want some of it. Be wise when giving it out.

Back To Work Blues

Vacation doesn’t last forever. It was time to return to work last night. After getting through a couple thousand emails, I was up to date with the operation. But in the back of my mind all night was thoughts of our new home.

When I finished my night shift, I headed home and got into some swim trunks. I grabbed a cup of coffee and headed down to the pool. As exhausted as I was from doing my first night shift in ages, I still enjoyed the refreshing water. I’m even contemplating doing yoga this summer.

Standing on my deck I realized- this is my lifestyle now. You know what else? In two weeks I have some more vacation time to chill out in our yard. I plan on owning the summer and making the most of what we have.

Summer Graffiti

As the sun continues to shine, my work days have gotten a bit brighter. Even the rail cars are getting into the spirit.

I spotted a “Lilo and Stitch” graffiti painted car outside the window today. It made me smile at the abilities of some vandals. The recognition of a cartoon character on either side of a tag is becoming commonplace.

Seeing “Lilo and Stitch” reminded me of our trip to Hawaii seven years ago. As well as our trip to Tokyo three years ago. Which got me thinking about all of our vacations to Disneyland. I really do enjoy my time with my family as we make memories.

So if a graffiti vandal can make me happy, then I really don’t mind seeing their crimes. Especially on rolling art canvases that travel the continent.

Farewell Spring Break

Today is the last day of MY Spring Break– even though it’s the First Day Of Spring! My wife still has Sunday off and our kids have another week off from school. Lucky ducks.

I’m not sure how it went by so quickly. I was up early almost every day and stayed up late as well. We achieved a lot around the house through packing and donating. I think that was where all my free time went towards.

We did get some driving lessons in for our middle child, which was good. As well as a ton of emails and paperwork completed for the purchase of our new home. My wife and I spent a lot of time together on a few walks, and we went out for my Birthday supporting the local businesses.

I guess in the end, it was a fulfilled “Staycation” keeping me busy. It just seemed like something was missing. Perhaps the whole “can’t travel” outside of Canada has me down. I’m sure once more folks receive the vaccine, those borders will open up soon enough. For now, I should just appreciate the time I had at home with my family.

It would also be nice not to have to return to work… but bills gotta be paid somehow. Now to look forward to my next set of vacation days- set for when we move!

Spring Break Vacation 2021

It’s that time again. My first vacation of the year is starting. It feels great to know I don’t have to go into work for 11 days.

It was definitely a stressful day at work as I tried to keep focused. My mind was clearly elsewhere as buying and selling of our future homes is forefront in my life.

The next few days will be some decompressing time. I’ll get some time to myself and then next week my wife and the kids will be on vacation as well. That’s when we will be busy packing more stuff for the move.

So “Spring Break” won’t be much of a break. Just time away from work in order to do more work.

Le sigh

End Of Summer Vacation 2020

Well it seems my fun in the sun has come to an end. It’s back to work starting tonight. Two weeks of night shifts means I’ll be missing the last of the summer sunshine while I sleep the days away.

On the bright side, I only have 6 weeks of work until my next week of vacation time. We already have that weekend booked for a trip to Victoria, BC. Our middle daughter has always wanted to go there but never has. So it seemed like a reasonable idea. Last time I was in Victoria was a little over three years ago when I Chaperoned My Son’s School Trip.

Who knows what the world will be like in a month and a half. Everything is changing day to day. I hope this trip doesn’t get cancelled like our Disneyland one did earlier this year. But if the world needs to keep people healthy- so be it.

Even if our travel plans do go on hold, I can still look forward to my time off. In SIX weeks…

Ending Vacation / Starting Short Work Week

My vacation is over which means back to work for me tonight. I have a “week” of night shifts. But it’s really only three nights. I have a four day weekend coming up starting Wednesday. Which makes it nicer to ease into the workload after vacation.

It’s been nice just doing camping, kayaking, and hanging out. No smell of diesel or grain dust on me. I will need to dig out my work clothes and gear before I return to work this evening.

My wife doesn’t return to work until tomorrow. So she is going to relax for one more day while I nap before my night shift. Pretty sure she is going to play video games. She has an extra day off on Thursday so her work week is shortened as well.

So far summer has been pretty good to us. I hope for it to continue over the next couple months.

One More To Go

I have one more shift to go at work before a week of vacation kicks in. I’m so excited I can hardly contain myself. The crazy part is that I don’t have much planned for my time off. Our Disneyland trip is on hold due to COVID-19. We were looking forward to spending The Fourth of July in the USA for the first time ever. I assume it’d be a big deal. Especially in Disneyland!

I still plan on being not-so-sober during my time off. I do have a few days of camping planned with most of my family and a friend with his kids. Last summer he joined us and, well, drinking was pretty much non-stop. But the weather was great and so were the kids. So why not go for round two?

It’ll be hard to make it through that last day of work without a big smile on my face. Somehow, I’m sure I’ll survive until that first beer hits my lips. Then it’ll be a blur.

Bucket List Places?

Once the restrictions on travel get lifted, will you be planning a vacation?

Personally, I think I’ll wait a bit. But I also realized that there is a great big world out there that I’ve missed out on already. I now want to see more of this planet than ever before. Mostly because I’m being told to stay home!

Of the vacations and travel I have done, the best times was spent with my family. We’ve taken our kids from California to Tokyo, Hawaii to Calgary. These are top of my lists- especially to travel to with kids/teens. I have now created a small list of places I still want to go to as a family. Now to figure out when to get there and how to afford it!

  • Peru
  • Brazil
  • Hong Kong
  • Shanghai
  • Czech Republic
  • Russia
  • Ireland
  • Road trip across Canada

The last one is what I’d love to do with my wife. Do a fun road trip in a camper van or small RV once we retire. Spend a few months just picking up and going everywhere we can. Plus if we’re on the move, it’ll feel like a grand adventure!

This summer we would like to be camping more than before. Not glamping. We’ve never done that, yet. Or we may just stay in our yard and live the best quarantine life we can! But I want to travel!!!

Christmas Vacation 2019

Today the kids start their winter break away from school. And as we do every year- we start it with a viewing of “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation“. A classic film filled with perfect comedic timing. Also some wicked quotes that you can say and everyone knows where it’s from.

At least our Christmas Vacation is different than what the film portrays.

Today we announced to the kids that they are only going to be allowed thirty minutes each day on their phones. As well, if they want to play video games or watch tv it has be to with at least one other person. They are going to spend quality time together!

If you have kids- I hope that you have a great Christmas Vacation with them. It’s all about those family memories and creating traditions that will last a lifetime.

Peace River; Taylor, BC

British Columbia is beautiful in many aspects. This week, my wife and I did a couple excursions with our new kayaks in Northern BC.

The other day we went to Charlie Lake which was 15 minutes north of Fort St. John. On Thursday my wife and I headed 15 minutes south towards the town of Taylor, BC.

We wanted to hit the Peace River for some kayaking. However, we knew the current would be strong because of the information we read about when we went to the Site C Dam lookout. After some research on Google and using the Google maps satellite view- I found a small alcove near a boat launch on the south side of the Peace River. So we went exploring.

This had to be the most peaceful kayaking we’ve done yet. The waters were calm and the views were spectacular. It was so leisurely that we spent almost two hours floating around without having to put much effort in.

It was a pleasant excursion and made me glad we toted the kayaks almost 1200 kms just to experience this. Perhaps one day our upper body strength will be better and we could try tackling a stronger current.

But until then, I’m content to put my feet up and relax.

Charlie Lake

About 15 minutes outside of Fort St. John is Charlie Lake. Yesterday my wife and I decided to go and check it out with our kayaks.

The boat launch that is there is in disrepair, so you can only bring kayaks, canoes and small boats in the lake. This meant that yesterday- we had the lake to ourselves.

This is a small lake only 3 km wide and 13 km long. There are a few homes situated along the shore, but none if you paddled north. Near the shoreline was heavy in algae which gave it a green tinge and made it tough to paddle through.

Once we ventured out about 500 meters, the water was pristine. Our mid day paddle last a good couple of hours and we paused at one point for a lunch break as we bobbed up and down on the slight waves.

This was yet another easy kayaking adventure. No challenge to it. But because of the amount of time we spent on the water- we can feel the burn today in our muscles. It feels great.

Time Off

I’m about to enjoy 17 days off. It seems like I always have vacation time off from work. I kind of do I guess. Five weeks of regular vacation every year. I try and set aside a week every couple of months. This year was a bit different. I have been enjoying summer a lot and still have more to come!

As I’ve mentioned, most of my time off this year is to support our son. First was a week in March for a Speed Skating competition. Then was June so that I could chaperone with Grade 7 Camp. A week in July in order for him to skate on the Olympic Oval. And next week is another Speed Skating camp in Northern BC.

The last week of August will be a summer wind down. With some camping and R+R to slow down our busy lives before returning to a September schedule. Taking a week in June, a week in July, and two weeks in August is a great way to keep the summer vacation going. Even if we aren’t traveling to exotic locations- the time spent with family and friends is extraordinarily worthwhile.

How are you planning on ending August? Let me know in the comments.

The Days Between…

In North America there is a couple of days in July that feel lost and without fanfare.

July 2nd and 3rd.

These are the two days that fall between Canada Day and Independence Day. The celebrations on July 1st north of the border and on July 4th south of the border. Canadians and Americans share a huge border and those that live near it, such as myself, benefit from the ability to visit freely from one side to the other.

What should we do with those two days in between? We should create an official celebration between our two countries that lasts four days. Hear me out… Already many people extend their time off around one of these dates. Many of us have family and friends who live on either side of the border. Plus the number 23 in numerology contains elements of companionship, diplomacy, and teamwork energies. A perfect description of the camaraderie between our two countries.

Why not make it official? Call July 2 and 3rd The International Two-Three. A new holiday celebrating friendships. I’m on board and want to make posters now!

Work vs Vacation

I make the most of my vacations. My days off are full of fun times and experiences. I came back to work after ten days off this past vacation to find an abundance of emails.

That was probably the hardest part of coming back to work. I enjoy the job itself, but there is often excessive emails that I need to sift through to find what I need to do my job.

Coming back to work and I’m already thinking towards my next vacation. Planning ahead is tough when you’re not sure how much you could spend.

I’d like to try and not go into debt to enjoy some time away from home. Pinching pennies and returning empty bottles for refunds may be how I pay for our next bit of fun. Back to working in order to afford my vacations I guess. Like a vicious circle.

Doggo Sitting

In the past when we have gone on vacation, we have left our dog, Lex Luthor with friends, family or at a Kennel. He has always been returned to us happy and healthy.

However, the one time he stayed at my sister’s place, he escaped within the first few hours. I received a phone call from someone who had collected Lex. My sister felt so awful about him breaking free that she would never look after him again. I wasn’t mad at her, he was quite the energetic dog when we first got him. Even in the first week of us adopting him, he jumped our fence and wandered the neighborhood (without us knowing). Lex is much older now and far less active.

An old friend of mine asked if we could look after their puppy while they were out of town. He’s a youthful nine month old puppers. Very friendly and gets along with our family and Lex which is great. Having this puppy here has made us be more energetic and mobile. We are going for more walks and playing around more. But we did the same thing my sister did. We were complacent about following the rules of a new dog.

One night, our son let both dogs out into our backyard. Our dog Lex returned. But our visitor did not. With a fenced acre and lots of trees, we searched the backyard nonchalantly thinking that he must be there. No such luck. Turns out he ran into the neighbor’s yard. So our kids went to get him.

Puppies don’t listen very well. This puppers was no exception. He kept running further and further off whenever we got close. Not only did our kids try and catch him, but three more neighborhood kids got in on the excitement. This puppy was chased through about twenty acres of open farm lands.

Only to return to our backdoor.

Now I kind of know how my sister felt. Even though I wasn’t overly scared that we’d never see him again- there was that small negative part of me that wondered how I would tell my buddy that his godson lost his dog. Luckily I didn’t have to. Maybe he will read this when he returns from his vacation. Until then, the puppy has found a happy place in our house and has made himself quite at home. I don’t think our son will let him out of his sights again.

Somewhere in all this is a good lesson to learn. I don’t quite know what it is, but my son’s guilt was punishment enough. Looking back, we also saved a dog in Odaiba, Japan and returned him to his owner. People and pets have a bond that you can’t refute.

Land, Air, and Sea

Flying home from Los Angeles I chose to sit by the window. I took advantage of this and enjoyed the scenery below.

Flying over California was neat. The change in landscapes was quick paced. Almost immediately leaving Los Angeles there were mountains and farmland. Lots of earthy tones of brown and green.

As we approached the Vancouver airport, the view changed drastically to more lush green and the blue of the water surrounding the outskirts.

Flying over both was surreal to me. In California- I could see below us all of the many roads we have driven in the past to get to Disneyland. Arriving at Vancouver, I could see the many locations that my work services. Rail cars and train tracks that I have been on numerous times. Plus many local roads that I have driven.

Once you’re in the air- flying is neat. The other stuff at airports, check in, paperwork, delays, etc… sucks. I prefer a good old fashioned road trip.

Portofino Aneheim

Back at the end of January/ beginning of February 2009, I was getting laid off. So we took that opportunity to go to Disneyland for the first time. I was told on the Wednesday that on the Friday I’d be laid off. So we went onto the Disneyland website and booked tickets and a hotel starting the Sunday.

That Saturday morning, Mickey and his friends called our house and the kids answered the call. Their ages were 2,4 and 6. They lit up! Immediately after the call, we packed our minivan and hit the road. We drove straight through for 26 hours taking turns driving.

We arrived at the Portifino Inn and Suites. It was perfect. Separate bedroom for the kids and only a short walk to the park. This our third time returning to stay at the hotel.

The rooms are spacious and moderately priced. Like most hotels near Disneyland, this one boasts a parking lot pool. It’s the perfect size for a quick dip to relax.

There’s only two things that would make this place one of my favorite hotels.

First, breakfast.

Unfortunately there is no breakfast offered. Nothing more than the in-room coffee is available. I’d worry that if there was breakfast offered- it’d be subpar. So maybe no breakfast is a good thing, especially for the price we pay.

Secondly, better WiFi.

Just like German WiFi- it’s the wurst. It drops constantly and has trouble connecting. Walking up to the hotel or at the pool- it works great. In the rooms, it sketches out. Having teens- (and myself) this is life ending! But we are trudging through.

We like staying at this hotel. Even with a couple of flaws. For a place to rest my head and enjoy some downtime- this place is perfect.

Photos, Fire, and a Friend

Thursday at Twenty Mile Bay was filled with a couple of long hikes and a few big meals. After breakfast, we ventured around the campsite along the water’s edge and capture some amazing pictures, and a little snake.

We did a ton of artsy pictures throughout the day. My daughters and I discussed photography (as I took it in High School, and they are as well). So we tried to out do one another.

The end of the day, we sat around the campfire and tossed in some Mystical Fire to add some colours to the flames.

It was a great way to end our last night of camping.

Regroup

We came home Friday afternoon from our cabin trip. Immediately unpacked and did laundry. We each took some down time as well to just chill out.

A late evening family dinner and called it a day. A quick recovery and recharge before hitting the weekend in full force.

On to more adventures and experiences! Time to regroup has passed.